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    Seasonal baking tradition gets Shropshire twist

    Posted 19 December 2023

    A lecturer and a student discuss baked goods in front of a Christmas tree

    A seasonal tradition at Harper Adams University has been given a Shropshire twist as Food students worked to create baked goods, cakes and pastry products for Battlefield Farm Shop.

    Each year, second year Food students work to develop new products during the Autumn term for a specific client – with the resulting products being market tested at a tasting event held on-campus in the run up to Christmas.

    This year’s students were challenged to create a new product for the Battlefield 1403 farm shop, butchery and café near Shrewsbury.

    Senior Lecturer in Food, Rachel Hilton, explained: “We approached the Battlefield 1403 farm shop for a joint project after colleagues had collaborated with them.

    “This particular project was focused on baked goods, cakes and pastry products for the farm shop.

    “Farm shops have seen great growth over the past couple of years and it was the local focus of the project that appealed to our students.

    “They were given the brief to develop a premium, quality product that met consumer needs but also offered a point of difference from current products.”

    Before they set to work in the kitchen, students were also tasked with carrying out market research to find out what products customers would be looking for and how they could tailor their creations to the shop’s current patrons.

    Rachel added: “Battlefield 1403 were very supportive and hosted us for a visit – we spoke to them about the shop, their customers and their expectations, and the kind of products which they make.”

    After this visit and conducting their market research, students worked to develop their product in the industry-standard Food Academy facilities over several weeks – before presenting them at the tasting event, where Harper Adams employees and their fellow students were given the chance to taste, comment and evaluate on each product.

    Rachel added: “Developing these baked goods has been a very successful project and the students had really good feedback from visitors.

    “It’s become something of a festive tradition at Harper Adams – but with valuable lessons about market research and product development for the students who took part!”

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